Our RockTown Sports week 6 Game of the Week featured a class 6A-West match-up between the 2nd-ranked Little Rock Parkview Patriots (3-1) and 3rd-ranked Benton Panthers (4-2).
After outscoring their opponents 118-26 in their first three games, Parkview took the past two weeks off due to protocols related to COVID-19.
Benton was picked as the preseason class 6A favorite per Hooten’s Arkansas Football, and came into War Memorial Stadium after beating Russellville and Siloam Springs in their past two games.
“After the loss to Bryant a lot of people started to count us out,” Benton head coach Brad Harris said. “Last year we started 0-3 and our guys have just continued to battle like you saw tonight.”
Benton received the ball first and had a drive going before the Patriot defense held on 4th down. Both teams fumbled on back-to-back possessions, but Parkview’s was much more costly.
They attempted a reverse throwback to quarterback Landon Rogers (Razorback Commit) but Beau Wright was able to scoop up the loose ball and take it all the way to put Benton on top early 7-0 with 6:34 remaining in the first quarter.
“Beau is our fastest linebacker, so it could not have worked out better,” Harris mentioned. “We had just been out on offense and had a 3 and out so it was a huge tone-setter.”
Parkview kept it simple on the following drive with quarterback draws and quick passes moving the ball down to the Benton one-yard line. Rogers added the exclamation point getting into the endzone on the QB sneak. Score tied at 7 with :43 left in the first quarter.
On a play that looked like it would be around a 10-yard loss, Rogers evaded tacklers and darted for a 33-yard gain. Two plays later, he got into the endzone on the sneak for his second score of the night making it 13-7 Patriots (extra point no good) with 8:36 remaining in the first half.
Benton hit right back capping a 5-minute drive as quarterback Garrett Brown went left and then looked back to his right throwing to an open Casey Johnson III who spun into the endzone tying the game at 13 with 3:30 to go until we hit the break.
Benton was threatening from the Parkview 14 with :03 remaining in the second quarter and hit a field goal to take a 3-point lead 16-13 as we went into halftime.
Parkview could not get anything going on their first drive of the second half, and Benton took advantage on the ensuing possession capped by a 25-yard touchdown from Brown to a wide open Jordan Parham down the left sideline to extend Benton’s lead 23-13 with 9:30 remaining in the third quarter.
With Parkview struggling to get into rhythm, Benton put another successful drive together taking time off of the clock with screens and handoffs but a 19-yard loss on a bad snap helped the Patriots out.
Or so we thought.
The Panthers decided to go for it on 4th and 23 and though the pass fell incomplete, a pass interference penalty moved the ball to the Parkview 19 where they attempted a 36-yard field goal but it was unsuccessful with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter.
Parkview really needed to get something rolling on the following drive and they did just that as Rogers was running around and found Jalon Smith for a 43-yard gain deep in Benton territory.
James Jointer finished the job on the first play of the fourth quarter taking the handoff and running it for the score from 23 yards out. That cut Benton’s lead 23-20 with 11:56 remaining.
After a couple of defensive stands, Benton did what they had to do in order to run the clock down. They were on offense for the majority of the quarter scoring one more time with leaving 1:47 on the clock.
“We’re real proud of our offensive line with the progress we have made in the run game,” Harris said. “Casey Johnson had a big second half. We didn’t think he ran the ball real well in the first, but we talked with him at halftime and he made some adjustments.”
There was a penalty on the Panthers that was questionably declined by Parkview giving Benton a 10-point lead 30-20.
The Parkview offense was never able to get past their own 20 on the final drive of the game and Benton sealed the win 30-20 dealing the Patriots their first loss of the season.
Published by Kyle Sutherland, @k_sutherlandHTP on Twitter